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Full text of "Alaskan glacier studies of the National Geographic Society in the Yakutat Bay, Prince William Sound and lower Copper River regions"

6                                   ALASKAN GLACIER STUDIES
None of these glaciers are now tidal, although Mendenhall Glacier, which is 17 miles long and two to three miles wide at its terminus, descends to within less than 100 feet of sea level. References to floating ice here in 1794 by Vancouver's lieutenant, Whidbey, and by Sir George Simpson in 1841, as well as the Admiralty and Hydrographic charts of 1865 and 1869, have convinced Davidson that Mendenhall Glacier reached tidewater in those years.1 He quotes Hanson's observations, based on a miner's stakes near Mendenhall Glacier, as proving a retreat of 40 or 50 feet a year between 1892 and 1901.
Davidson has briefly described the glaciers and glaciation of the head of Lynn Canal or Taiya Inletz and Schwatka8 has described the Saussure, Baird, and several other small glaciers between Lynn Canal and Lake lindemann. Andrews reports that eight glaciers near Skagway were all retreating rapidly in 1903, one having gone back 30 or 40 feet annually since 1898.4 The Krause brothers visited some of these glaciers in 1881.6 Denver Glacier is visited annually by hundreds of tourists.
White Pass and Chilkoot Pass, which were crossed by thousands of gold-seeking prospectors in the rush to the Klondike during the late nineties, are not covered by glaciers, although there are many ice tongues in the mountains nearby. These passes, 2,600 and 3,600 feet respectively above sea level, were snow-covered, however, at the time of the rushes, especially in the early spring. Russell has called attention to the 5 or 6 small glaciers seen by him in 1889, and commented upon the fact that those on the north side of the Coast Range are much smaller than those on the south8 where he saw forty small glaciers from a single viewpoint. In 1896 J. E. Spurr observed that the glaciers on the south side of the Coast Range were retreating.7
ST. ELIAS RANGE
Glaciers West of Lynn Canal. On the west side of Lynn Canal a series of glaciers descend from the slopes of the St. Elias Range, though none reach sea level.8 These include a number of valley glaciers in the region drained by the western tributaries of the Chil-kat River, including the Knapp, Leslie, Jarvis, Le Blondeau, Takhin, Bertha, and Garrison Glaciers and the glaciers whose streams flow directly to Chilkat Inlet or Lynn Canal, such as Rainbow Glacier, the well-known piedmont bulb of Davidson Glacier, and a series of unnamed ice tongues, some of which are through glaciers descending from the snowfields that also feed Muir Glacier on the west side of the same range. Wright has discussed the general glaciation of the Porcupine gold district.9
1 Davidson, George, The Glaciers of Alaska that are Shown on Russian Charts or Mentioned in Older Narratives, Trans, and Proc. Geog. Soc. Pacific, Vol. m, 1904, pp. 78-79.
«Bull. Phila. Geog. Soc., Vol. II, 1900, pp. 108-114.
»Science, Vol. DJ, 1884, p. 220; Report of a Military Reconnaissance Made in Alaska in 1883, Compilation of Narratives of Exploration in Alaska, "Washington, 1900, pp. 295-296 and map.
«Quoted by Reid, H. P., Variations of Glaciers, Journ. Geol., Vol. 331,1904, p. 260.
8 Krause, Arthur and Aurel, Ergebniase einer Reise nach der Nordwest Ktlate von Amerika und der Berings-Strasse, Jena, 1885; Krause, Arthur, Zeitschrift der Gea. fllr Erdkunde zu Berlin, Vol. XVEQ, 1883.
• Russell, I. C., Surface Geology of Alaska, Bull. Geol. Soc. Amer., Vol. I, 1890, pp. 148-151. » Quoted by Reid, H. F., Variations of Glaciers, Journ. Geol., Vol. V, 1897, p. 381.
• Coast Survey Charts 8050, 8300, 8302, 8303.
Atlas of Award, Alaskan Boundary Tribunal, Sheets 14,17,18.
PL XLTX, 21st Ann. Rept., U. S. Geol. Survey, Part H, 1899-1900; PI. XXXVII; Bull. 287, U. S. Geol. Survey, 1906.
• Wright, C. W., Bull., 236, U. Si Geol. Survey, 1904, pp. 14,18-19, and PI. "II, V.